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NSF Poll Highlights Strong Link Between Sleep and Depressive Symptoms in US Population

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Stephanie Kohn


NSF Poll Highlights Strong Link Between Sleep and Depressive Symptoms in US Population

The National Sleep Foundation Marks the 25th Anniversary of Sleep Awareness Week® by releasing important new public health findings from its annual Sleep in America® Poll


Washington, D.C. (March 9, 2023) – To kick off the 25th anniversary of its Sleep Awareness Week® which runs March 12-18, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has released new findings from their annual Sleep in America® Poll. This year focused on exploring the important connection between sleep health and mental health in the general US adult population. The Poll found that adults with good sleep were also likely to be free of significant depressive symptoms. In fact, over 90% of adults with very good sleep health also reported an absence of elevated depressive symptoms.

Additional key results from the research show:

  • Almost 7 in 10 adults (65%) who are dissatisfied with their sleep experience mild or greater levels of depressive symptoms.
  • People with difficulties falling or staying asleep just 2 nights a week have higher levels of depressive symptoms than those without sleep difficulties.
  • 50% of all adults who sleep less than the NSF-recommended 7-9 hours experience mild or greater levels of depressive symptoms.
  • Over 90% of adults who engage in high levels of healthy sleep behaviors, including the basics of NSF’s Best Slept Self®, have both good sleep health and report no significant depressive symptoms.

“In the day-to-day execution of our sleep health mission, we give lots of simple, evidence-based and consensus-driven tips and tools to help people get enough of the quality sleep they need. For this year’s Poll, we were compelled to look again at the connection between sleep health and mental health conditions like depression.” said John Lopos, National Sleep Foundation CEO.

Sleep health is critical to our overall health and well-being. This year’s Sleep in America Poll findings come at a crucial time when the United States continues to address a national mental health crisis. Other leading public health organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognize mental health as a critical issue facing our nation today.

An annual survey, the Sleep in America Poll is one of the longest-running records capturing U.S. perceptions, attitudes, and trends in sleep health. For the first time, this year’s research combined a variety of sleep health tools, including NSF’s validated Sleep Health Index® and Sleep Satisfaction Tool®, and its Best Slept Self® Questionnaire, to assess the nation’s sleep, and the PHQ-9 to evaluate depressive symptoms.

“One unique aspect of this year’s research was how we combined NSF’s multiple validated measures of the population’s sleep health with an established measure of depressive symptoms to examine the link between sleep health and depressive symptoms in the general population,” said Joseph Dzierzewski, PhD, Vice President of Research and Scientific Affairs at the National Sleep Foundation. “As a licensed clinician, I’d say there’s never been a more important time to think about the strong connection between our sleep and mental health. Being your Best Slept Self® can have meaning beyond sleep.”

Sleep Awareness Week 2023 is sponsored through unrestricted funding and support from Primasun, Avadel, Eisai, Inc., Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Apnimed, Asleep, AYO, Harmony Biosciences, Idorsia Pharmaceuticals US Inc., NLS Pharmaceutics Ltd., Purecare, Samsung Health, Wayfair, and Higi. Additional collaborators include National PTA, Mental Health America, National Organizations for Youth Safety, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sleep Research Society, and Drowsy Driving Prevention Project who help to promote NSF’s sleep health messages.

For more sleep health information and to learn ways to help be your Best Slept Self®, visit

If you’re still not getting the sleep you need after taking some basic steps, or if you have lasting symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider. That’s especially true if you are having challenges with your mood or feelings of depression. You are not alone. For anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek care. Contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.


About the National Sleep Foundation

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving health and well-being through sleep education and advocacy. Founded in 1990, the NSF is committed to advancing excellence in sleep health theory, research and practice. │

About the Sleep in America® Poll

The Sleep in America Poll is the National Sleep Foundation’s premier annual review of current sleep topics. The Poll was first conducted in 1991 and has been produced since 2018 by Langer Research Associates. The full Sleep in America Poll findings, including methodology, can be found at